A day after missing practice and being placed into COVID-19 protocol, Habs winger Joel Armia has received the green light to rejoin the team. He is on a flight to Tampa Bay and has not been ruled out for Monday’s series opener.
Armia tested positive for the virus back in March and even though it appears to have been a false positive, his return to the protocol, albeit brief, still raised some eyebrows. It’s worth noting that the team is more than two weeks past their second vaccination although that doesn’t automatically guarantee immunity either. If you’re wondering, there have been players this season that had two full stints in COVID-19 protocol as well as both Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov were in that situation with Washington, missing some playoff games as a result so it’s quite plausible that Armia could have joined that group.
If Armia is able to get off the plane and play, there shouldn’t be any changes to Montreal’s lineup for the opener. If that doesn’t happen, Jake Evans is expected to take his place after taking part in the last two full practices on the ‘fourth’ line.
While the Habs should now have Armia available, they will still be without head coach Dominique Ducharme who won’t be able to rejoin the team until Game 3.